‘You do not want to lose him’ – Paul Merson says midfielder critical to Spurs’ European hopes
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson thinks Christian Eriksen will be the key to Spurs qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Eriksen had been linked with a move away from Tottenham this summer, and while a move has failed to materialise so far, the Dane’s omission from the starting lineup before the win over Aston Villa on Saturday raised suspicion with Merson, who appeared on Sky Sports’ The Debate.
The attacking midfielder emerged as a second-half substitute and helped turn the game around, with Jamie Redknapp among those to also highlight the effect Eriksen had on the game, with Spurs scoring all their goals following his introduction into the match.
Merson believes that his presence is so vital in a Spurs team that had otherwise failed to break Villa down on Saturday evening, that they would not be able to achieve a top-four finish without his assistance throughout the campaign.
He said: “I’d go as far as to say that if he went before the transfer window shuts, I’d be surprised if they got into the top four.
“I watched them against Aston Villa and they’d run out of ideas. There was nothing really happening for them. Harry Kane wasn’t getting any service as Villa kept things compact.
“Eriksen came on and it was a completely different last 25 minutes. He put the ball through the eye of a needle, he played little one-twos and he has vision.
“It was a strange one [not starting him]. You do not want to lose him before the window closes.”
Eriksen has reportedly attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid this summer – and with the former out of the picture for the time being due to the close of the transfer window in England, the Denmark international is still susceptible to a move abroad.
That said, despite Eriksen not starting at the weekend, there were others missing for the home side that could have helped their cause against Villa – with Son Heung-min and Dele Alli unavailable. Furthermore, there may yet be more to this Tottenham side.
Considering that trio contributed to a cumulative total of 37 goals and 35 assists last season, perhaps it was no surprise Spurs threatened to stutter on the opening day.
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